Two Camden youths were killed and a third was injured early Monday in a collision on the U.S. 79 bypass in Magnolia.
Both the driver and a passenger in a 2018 model Chevrolet Colorado died when the driver pulled out of the driveway at the Hampton Inn, where it was struck by a northbound 1997 Freightliner.
Preliminary Arkansas State Police reports do not name juveniles killed or injured in accidents. The driver was not identified.
However, Columbia County Coroner Randy Reed identified the fatalities as Dekari Jeavon Wyatt, 14, and Jamarion Martez Billings, 14.
A second passenger was taken to Magnolia Regional Medical Center and later transported to a Little Rock hospital.
Fred Lilly, superintendent of the Camden Fairview School District, issued a statement Monday morning. While not naming the victims, he expressed sympathy.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with their families,” Lilly said. “We have a tight knit community where we are all hurt when things like this happens. I’m sure their teachers and friends are hurting as well. We send our condolences to their families during this tragic time.”
The Freightliner tractor-trailer, which was empty but configured to carry logs, came to a stop on the northbound shoulder, with its trailer extending into the northbound lanes.
The Chevrolet truck was knocked onto the driver’s side and was spun onto the northbound shoulder, behind the tractor-trailer.
The driver of the Freightliner was not injured and was not identified in the report.
Magnolia police were dispatched at about 5:53 a.m. The Magnolia Fire Department rescue truck and three Columbia County Ambulance Service units also responded.
Trooper 1st Class Brent Walker investigated the accident.
The weather was clear and the road was dry at the time of the wreck.
The bypass was blocked between Dudney Road and East University and traffic was rerouted for several hours.
The deaths are the fourth and fifth on Columbia County roads in 2020. There were also five deaths in 2019, including one pedestrian who was struck by a train.